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Thai-Lao QR Payment System Boosts Border Tourism

A collaborative effort between the Bank of Thailand (BoT) and the Bank of Lao (BoL) has heralded the launch of a QR payment system, aiming to streamline electronic transactions and bolster cross-border tourism along the Thai-Laos border.

In a bid to enhance electronic transactions and amplify tourist spending, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) and the Bank of Lao (BoL) have inaugurated a QR payment system. This landmark initiative, introduced on the sidelines of the 11th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting in Luang Prabang on April 3, is poised to revolutionize border transactions between Thailand and Laos.

Khemchat Somjaiwong, head of the Khon Kaen Chamber of Commerce, has lauded this progressive step, envisioning a surge in economic activity, particularly during the upcoming Songkran and Lao New Year festivals. He foresees a promising outlook for the second quarter, attributing it to the collaborative efforts to stimulate trade and tourism through seamless digital payment mechanisms.

“In the initial phase, Lao citizens crossing into Thailand can utilize their Lao commercial bank applications on mobile devices to scan Thai PromptPay QR codes for transactions within Thailand. This service, operational since April 3, marks a significant milestone in cross-border payment facilitation,” highlighted Khemchat.

The subsequent phase, scheduled for the end of June, will enable Thai citizens to employ their mobile banking applications for purchases in Laos. This anticipated extension is projected to catalyze spending, particularly in regions like Nong Khai province in Thailand and Vientiane in Laos, thus fostering economic growth and cross-border commerce.

According to the BoT, this concerted effort underpins the broader ASEAN Payment Connectivity initiative, aimed at fortifying trade, investment, and tourism while promoting the use of local currencies within the region.

Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, the central bank governor, emphasized the strategic importance of cross-border real-time payment integration, noting the BoT’s collaboration with five ASEAN nations and now Laos, as part of the initiative. He underscored the transformative potential of cross-border QR payment services in fostering a secure, efficient, and cost-effective retail payment ecosystem across ASEAN.

Echoing similar sentiments, Bounleua Sinxayvoravong, governor of the Bank of Lao, highlighted the initiative’s alignment with regional integration goals and economic prosperity aspirations. The involvement of key stakeholders, including National ITMX Co and Lao National Payment Network Co (LAPNet), signifies a concerted effort towards realizing a seamless cross-border payment landscape.

The oversight by Kasikorn Bank and Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL) in cross-border settlements underscores the commitment towards operationalizing the QR payment system. With six banks from Laos already on board, the forthcoming participation of Krungthai Bank and Bank of Ayudhya in Thailand is poised to elevate the accessibility and efficiency of QR payment services in Laos during the second phase, as reported by Bangkok Post.

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